I don't know about you, but for me the season's blessing of long hours of sunlight somehow seems to expand all the possibilities for creating bountiful meals — even after a long day at the office.
Throughout most of the year, getting dinner on the table is a race against the clock. As the working day grows longer, and we answer yet another after-hours email, our plans for braising or roasting our meals get downgraded to quickly stir-frying some vegetables. When we finally walk through the door, exhausted, at 8 p.m., we wonder if we have the energy to make a piece of toast with avocado.
But summer's bright evening hours are invigorating: When the workday is done, there are still plenty of hours left to do whatever you want before bedtime. For me, that often involves creating more ambitious meals than I would be inclined to on a dark, cold winter night.
Summertime's freewheeling bounty spurs my creativity in the kitchen with little effort. Instead of planning a menu I tend to improvise in the kitchen inspired by my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and I rely on what the farmer has brought for me to create my meals, aaaaahhhhh. I create less picture-perfect but more soul nourishing food. It tends to be more whimsical, colorful, and, at times, even tastier.
Sometimes, a messy, juicy heirloom salad with butter lettuce and cuke salad is every bit as satisfying as a labored-over three-course menu — and a lot more fun to make.